following is a guest article written by animal welfare reporter and activist
Deborah Kay Steinken.
Being a domestic violence counselor has made me realize that victims need to be more informed and aware of the help
and resources available regarding safe havens for animals, foster care for
animals in violent homes, and local humane societies that work with animal
victims of domestic violence.
Companion animals living in abusive homes can't scream for help and don't have the choice
to leave. They are usually the first to
be victimized, as abusers understand and exploit the deep bond between animals
and family members. Abusers use threats of violence against animals to
prevent many human victims from leaving the home. This only prolongs the high
risk of serious injury or death to all involved.
Even though FBI
profilers, psychiatrists, and law-enforcement officials have documented that violence toward animals is one of the traits that regularly appear in the records of serial killers,
rapists, mass murderers, and perpetrators of domestic violence, animals still remain
the least protected and most forgotten victims. Doesn't
it make sense that when there is violence in a family, everyone from animal
control to family advocates to the court system should consider all vulnerable
victims, including animals?
If you need help, contact your
local humane society, animal control agency, or veterinarian to see if they
have temporary foster-care facilities for the companion animals of battered
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.